Wow! This is my tenth year of blogging, and Highflying Marketers is my fifth blog. To date, almost all of my blogging experience has come from writing for personal rather than corporate blogs, but the lessons learned have been invaluable. I’m certain that this experience has helped to me secure some of the awesome marketing roles I’ve had over the last ten years.
I truly believe that the practice of regular, personal blogging makes you a better marketer, because it develops a number of key skills that will serve you in virtually any marketing or communications role. Here’s why:
Blogging fosters creativity
Blogging is fundamentally about creating content – whether it’s written posts, video, slideshare presentations, infographics or whatever you choose, there is a very creative element to blogging. If you commit to writing even just one blog post a week, you have set yourself the task of regularly creating new ideas – and that requires creativity.
Whether it’s brainstorming for your content themes, topic ideas, headlines or posts, blogging improves your ability to generate ideas and connect disparate pieces of information, which is where creativity is born.
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This post about how our brains work when we are creative offers some great suggestions for preparing to get new ideas, particularly “getting into the habit of collecting information that’s all around us so our brains have something to work with.”
Creativity is an important skill for marketers to foster, because we are increasingly called upon to do more with less, and to solve tough challenges like increasing leads, getting cut through with our marketing activities and differentiating our offering from that of our competitors.
Blogging requires you to become a better planner
Blogging, when done well, also requires planning.
When I first started blogging ten years ago, I was random with my posting schedule and blogged when I felt like it. Usually it was a case of I blogged when the elusive “inspiration” struck me. Sometimes that was three times over a weekend. Other times, it was once a month. There was little consistency.
Despite being a chronic planner in other areas of my work and life, I did minimal planning for my blogs about corporate communications, photography, holistic therapies and travel. I pretty much wrote them because I was passionate about those topics at the time.
Fast forward to Highflying Marketers, and my intention is to be far more strategic and organised with this site. Well before I began writing the first post, I wrote a vision for what the site is about, who I am writing for, which overall themes I will write about and how those themes will serve my audience (ie, YOU!).
I have created a thorough plan, editorial calendar, content templates, social media publishing schedule and a roadmap for where I want to take the site. This blog is different to my others because I am applying everything I have read and absorbed about blogging, content marketing and social media marketing, and it’s forcing me to PLAN! Many of the systems I have tested and refined in my own time for this blog, I’ve been able to implement at work.
Planning is a critical skill for marketers, and even if you are not responsible for managing a blog in your current role, managing a personal blog will definitely hone your planning skills.
Regular blogging improves your writing
Like anything, practice makes perfect, and blogging is no different. If you’re writing regularly, your writing should theoretically improve over time. I would add one suggestion: when you’re starting out, hook up with a buddy who can give you constructive feedback on your posts and writing style.
I believe writing is one of the most critical skills for any marketer. With so much emphasis on content marketing and social media today, marketers at every level need strong writing skills.
Even if what you’re writing about on your personal blog is unrelated to what you’re writing about at work, the fact that you are building a broader writing portfolio will open up more opportunities for you. By investing time in a blog, you are also building a digital asset that stays with you regardless of who you are working for.
Blogging encourages you to think about how you can serve your audience
Once you have established what you want to write about and who you want to write it for, regular blogging forces you to think a lot about how you can best serve your audience.
As well thinking about the words you use to craft the post, you start to think about what would make this post more useful? What are my audience’s pain points and how can I help solve them? Which images, links and resources could I include to make this piece more valuable?
If you go into blogging with the intention of delivering value to your audience, I believe this mindset spills into your approach to marketing and makes you a better marketer.
Regular blogging forces you to keep up to speed with blogging and marketing tools
One of the other benefits I’ve seen as a result of blogging for ten years, is the necessity to keep up to date with blogging and marketing tools. Beware – it can get addictive!
The blogging and social media landscape has come a long way since I started my first blog on the Blogger platform in 2005. There are hundreds (if not thousands) more tools, apps and platforms to choose from – to the point where it can feel overwhelming.
In fact, this Marketing Technology Landscape Graphic from chiefmartec.com shows over 1,879 vendors of marketing technologies represented over 43 categories – and this increased from 947 companies in 2014. Staggering!
There is no doubt, that the technologies available to marketers are greater than ever before. While there is no way you could (or would want) to get your head around every one of these tools, regular blogging helps you to gain experience with many more tools than you might otherwise.
Again, almost all of my experience with blogging and marketing tools has come from the work I’ve done with my personal blogs rather than work I’ve done in my full time marketing roles. But it means that when it comes to talking about blogging or social media rollouts at work, I have an informed opinion about how to go about it based on my own experience. If you are not currently getting experience in a range of blogging and marketing tools and apps, I highly recommend you create your own opportunities!
So what are you waiting for? Get blogging!
In my experience, blogging is as rewarding as it is fun. AND, as I’ve outlined in this post, I believe it makes you a better marketer.
Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start your first blog. This is a huge topic on its own, but to begin with, I would suggest picking a subject you are passionate about. It’s easier to write about topics that light you up.
Then perhaps do a bit of planning around what you want to say, brainstorm some ideas for blog posts and get cracking. The best thing you can do is start, and continue to learn and refine as you go.
Like most things in life, you learn the most by actually doing! So….what are you waiting for?
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